A wonderful email has arrived from Airbnb entitled ‘Discrimination and Belonging — What It Means For You’.
Having tried to make sense of it, I feel it can mean only one thing with any certainty. And that is that the Airbnb party is over. The web business started by a whizz kid in his New York apartment is about to feed itself to the ravening equality agenda wolves.
Sadly, the once proud Airbnb corporation has decided to launch ‘a comprehensive effort to fight bias and inequality in the Airbnb community’.
With abject hand-wringing, it says it wants to make sure that any householder joining its site to host tourists in their spare room for extra cash will from now on guarantee to choose these tourists without any regard for ‘race, religion, national origin, ethnicity, disability, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation or age’. Furthermore, the host will treat their guests ‘without judgment or bias’ and also with the dreaded R-word — respect. Oh, for heaven’s sake.
Once an individual or company starts using the R-word you know it is in full flight from what used to be referred to as reality.
The email I have received sets out the Airbnb Community Commitment, which I must sign up to if I want to go on hosting students from Taiwan and chefs from Israel. The commitment is so verbose it would be impossible to explain here.
But these are the highlights: Airbnb is, at its core, ‘an open community dedicated to bringing the world closer together by fostering meaningful, shared experiences amongst people from all parts of the world’. Its purpose is to ‘build a world where people from every background feel welcome and respected’ and to ‘promote empathy and understanding across all cultures’.
And there was me thinking it was about having a messy twenty-something backpacker in your spare room for a few quid. No. Airbnb is about promoting world peace, and the free movement of all peoples to wherever they want to be, in a way that makes them feel as happy and accepted and included as possible.
To this end, I must click a box accepting that I am ‘becoming part of a community of inclusion’, dedicated to ending all barriers between races and religions.
Obviously, as I am joining this ‘community of inclusion’, I may not decline a guest based on race, colour, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, or marital status. Hosts who demonstrate a pattern of rejecting guests from ‘a protected class’ will be asked to leave.
In other words, if my bookings don’t show a good smattering of members of the ‘protected classes’ — gay, lesbian, transgender, those of all religions and races, people who are single, married and, I presume, polygamous, whether Mormon or Muslim — then I will be turfed off the site.
As a side issue, who is not in a protected class these days? Donald Trump? The Queen? Members of the Heythrop hunt? Me?
But my favourite rule regards disability. Obviously, I may not decline a guest based on ‘any actual or perceived disability’. But also, I may not ‘inquire about the existence or severity of a guest’s disability, or the means used to accommodate any disability’.
If someone arrives with a guide dog unexpectedly, therefore, I must contrive to appear not to notice the guide dog. Commenting on it, voicing concern that my spaniel Cydney may not be fully signed up to the diversity agenda, will break the Community Commitment.
In other words, if my spaniel will not accept the guide dog coming into my flat without starting a dog fight, I will have to remove my spaniel from my property, paying for her to stay in a boarding kennels, an expense which will no doubt exceed the amount I earn from Airbnb, in order to show inclusion and respect for the guest.
No inclusion and respect will be shown to me on my own property. This, of course, is Marxism. Airbnb has joined the global elite’s attempt to create a world without borders, or even closed front doors.
The only snag is that no one in any foreign country with a truly hideous homophobic, woman-hating culture will be forced to host anyone from any ‘protected class’. Because Airbnb has thought of that, and has a get-out clause for oppressive regimes everywhere, saying in the weasel small print that it ‘does not require hosts to violate local laws’.
Meanwhile, back in the West, I am resigning my membership of Airbnb before a one-legged Middle Eastern polygamist knocks on my door and demands I install mobility ramps so he can sleep in my spare room with both wives and, when I refuse, takes me to court for refusing to foster a meaningful, shared experience with a fellow world citizen based on inclusivity and respect.